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HMA v Connor Dow Wilson


May 7, 2024

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lord Fairley sentenced Connor Dow Wilson to 4 years and 4 months in prison. Wilson had pled guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. He has been disqualified from driving for 8 years and 2 months and must sit an extended driving test.

On sentencing, Lord Fairley told Wilson:

“Connor Dow Wilson, you pleaded guilty on 18 March 2024 to causing the death of Gabriel Lungu by your dangerous driving on Hilton Avenue at its junction with Hilton Drive on 30 December 2021.

Immediately prior to colliding with Mr Lungu’s car, you drove at a grossly excessive speed within a residential area and in a vehicle with a deflated tyre. You failed to follow road signs and markings, and failed to reduce your speed as you approached the junction. After you had collided with Mr Lungu’s vehicle, you and your passenger fled the scene. At the time of the incident you did not have a valid driving licence.  

I have read the Victim Impact Statements from Mr Lungu’s partner and from his stepson from which the devastating effect on them of losing him is painfully apparent. No sentence that I can impose today will mitigate the grief felt by Mr Lungu’s family at his loss.

I have taken into account everything that has been said on your behalf today, as well as the contents of the Criminal Justice Social Work Report. In particular, I have taken into account your age, your acceptance of responsibility for your actions and the remorse that you have demonstrated. I must also have regard, however, to the very dangerous nature of your driving, and to the aggravating factors of your previous convictions for road traffic offences and the fact that you fled the scene of the collision.  

In light of these factors, only a custodial sentence is appropriate in this case. In determining the appropriate period of custody, I have had regard to all of the relevant Guidelines issued by the Scottish Sentencing Council including the Guideline applicable to young offenders and the Guideline on causing death by driving. It may be worth pointing out that the sentencing parameters for this offence are different to those for other crimes where death has resulted from the commission of an offence.

Taking into account all of these factors, had you been convicted after trial, the sentence of imprisonment that I would have imposed would have been one of six and a half years. Having regard to the timing of your plea, I will modify that sentence to one of 4 years and 4 months. That period of custody will be backdated to 12 March 2024 when you were first remanded.

I will also impose a period of disqualification from driving of 6 years, modified from 9 years on account of your plea. In terms of section 35C of the Road Traffic Offenders Act, 1988, I am required to add to that discretionary period of disqualification an extension period equivalent to half of your custodial sentence. The total period of disqualification from driving is accordingly one of 8 years and 2 months, running from the date of your interim suspension on 12 March.

In addition, your driving record with the DVLA will be endorsed, and you will be required to sit the extended driving test should you wish ever to hold a driving licence again. Whether you are fit to do so will be a matter for the DVLA to determine at the appropriate time.”

07 May 2024